Examination of Witness

Part of Domestic Abuse Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:29 am on 29th October 2019.

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Nicole Jacobs:

That is why I feel strongly about the broadening of the statutory duty. One of the things that I want to point out is that when you hear about refuges or community-based services, all those people are serving the needs of children. They are the people who are finding the school places and thinking about advocating to CAMHS—child and adolescent mental health services—for example, about waiting lists and all sorts of things.

That aside, there is still a distinct lack of services that address the child directly. There are the needs of the child and then what services a child in their own right should have, such as counselling support to understand and make sense of the trauma they have suffered. Those services are seriously lacking because in the local authority, at the local level, it is the crisis-related services that are prioritised for funding.

Believe anyone who gives you evidence on the lack of services for children, because it is true to say that it is very unusual to find an area with genuine nice provision and breadth of services for children in that respect. Again, that is why we need to be clearer about where that is happening, so that we can learn from it—how do they fund it, or which partners come together at the local authority level to fund it? Even better, that should be included in the breadth of a duty that we would expect everyone to have. That would make things significantly better.